Jaimie N. Schock's best-selling LGBTQ fantasy series in one box set for the first time! The seven novels in the series follow multiple protagonists as they navigate a world torn apart by magic.
Contains the stories:
The Pyre Starter: Dakota tries to end his life -- only to be saved by his friend, Terrell, who then drags him into a world of intrigue. Powerful magic users are pulling the planet into a violent war, and evil forces seek to take the talismans possessed by Dakota and his newfound family. Dakota soon finds himself in over his head -- with love and with fighting for all their lives.
The Fired Gun: Dakota has a job to do. He kills other magic users that pose a threat to society. Along the way, he must balance being a father, having a love life, and dealing with the dwindling network of in-the-know people that surround him. When a man with a vendetta and a secret mission puts Dakota in his sights, everyone around him could suffer for his mistakes.
The Circus Crown: Dakota takes his teen daughter Kenna on dangerous missions in an attempt to prevent a war between talisman users. But an encounter with mutated monstrosities reveals a new and powerful enemy, whose plans are as secretive as they are terrifying. When Dakota goes missing, Kenna must locate him at any cost. Frantic, she travels across the country and kills anyone who gets in the way.
The Queen's Pain: Kenna runs the town of New Somerset and is responsible for its protection. She will defend it with her life in order to keep its citizens -- including her father Dakota -- safe from harm. But the appearance of a deformed animal puts everything at risk. Soon, the mountains surrounding the town are overrun with bloodthirsty creatures. As Kenna fights them, she begins to suspect it’s a losing battle.
The Crystal Call: Dakota must track down his daughter Kenna, who has gone missing during the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But when he finds her, he is left reeling. Kenna has been chosen to save the world from talismans, and she intends to depart on a dangerous journey to accomplish the task. Moreover, she has no plan to include Dakota.
The Magic Pact: Kenna and Yuuki go on a long mission to track down Moíra. They intend to make her pay for creating the mutations and especially torturing Dakota. Meanwhile, Dakota and Terrell set up shop in their little fortress. But peace and quiet are interrupted by the reappearance of an enraged Odessa, who demands to know where Kenna can be found.
The Burning Key: Cameron is a marijuana grower who becomes entangled in a series of explosions. He takes not one but two lovers: his boss, Ezra, and a dealer named Nicky. The trio and some friends are forced to travel into the unregulated lands of what was once the U.S. They come upon mutated forests and conclude that magic is the only thing that can eliminate them. The group must find a powerful person to help.
EXCERPT FROM "The Pyre Starter"
A clanging noise at the gate snapped him out of his fantasy. While the ranch's main entrance was chained shut, climbing it wouldn't be too difficult, even in the snow. The wind howled, but not strong enough to shift metal. Someone moved it.
Dakota called up to the house for help, though he knew his voice wouldn't carry that far. He waited but heard nothing in return. If he tried to hurry back on worn-out legs, the stranger might make it there first. He decided the best thing to do was to intercept. Make a stand. With two guns and two talismans, maybe he had a chance.
He sprinted through the snowdrifts and down a hill to the gate.
The silhouette of a person stood on the other side. When he saw Dakota coming, he backed away a little. But even at a distance and partially cloaked by the manufactured weather, the intruder's glowing crystal discs announced his identity. The torturer. Dakota moved closer. He observed icy blue eyes, skin as pale as a corpse, and red hair. A long gray trench coat. A black scarf wrapped tightly beneath his pointed chin. The look of someone who might try to outsmart a hero detective -- or shoot up a school for no reason.
The figure raised one hand toward Dakota, and with a commanding voice that practically echoed, he pronounced the name and commands of a new talisman. "Na'fenn eta ma!"
To Dakota's horror, the area around him burst into flames despite more than adequate snow coverage. Fire flared up in every direction. He could feel the heat of it as he crouched on the ground and tried to cover his face.
But it didn't hurt.
Maybe the fire killed all the nerve endings, Dakota thought. It wouldn't really cause any pain, right? He could think of worse ways to go.
In the next moment, the flames stopped. When he opened his eyes, expecting to see charred ash in place of skin, he found no damage. Not even singeing of his clothes. Nothing at all looked out of place, except a circle of melted snow around him. Astounded, he quickly scrambled to his feet. The attacker appeared equally shocked. His head tilted to one side as he stared at the only talisman Dakota wore openly. It wasn't activated. So, what protected him from spontaneous combustion?
What, indeed. Terrell's necklace had to be the culprit. It protected him from the fire. With only seconds to react, Dakota readied his rifle and pointed it at the man. He tried to aim as best he could, but he'd only shot the thing a few times in practice, and he never hit anything. This guy stood a lot closer than the cans, however. He'd have to be completely inept to miss.
He squeezed the trigger. The kickback dug the wooden butt of the weapon deeply into his shoulder, and he let out a yelp. When he looked to see what damage he'd inflicted, he found the figure completely unharmed.
"Fuck." How could he miss at such close range? Movies always made it look so easy. With a shaking hand, he worked the bolt handle up, back, forward, and then down again, releasing the spent cartridge and pulling a new bullet into place. The gun's capacity was four rounds, and Dakota carried another four on his person, but he didn't think he could successfully reload the thing quickly enough.
The eight-pound gun felt so heavy in his hands, which went numb from the cold. As his opponent selected a new talisman to use in attack, Dakota tried to aim better this time. He moved the barrel to the left a little, gulped, and fired. The sound rang in his ears, and pain shot up from his shoulder.
A grazing hit -- just above the man's collarbone -- forced him a few steps back. A bigger caliber, and much of the area would be missing, but Eddie feared Dakota would accidentally hurt himself with something bigger.
Probably. His shoulder already felt like hell, and he'd only fired the gun twice.
The injured attacker gripped at his wound and swore, but it wasn't even remotely life-threatening. In the next moment, he raised his hand and evoked another talisman.